Architects: Iway Architects and Associates
- Area: 2662 m²
- Year: 2021
Lead Architect: Yao Yao
- Design Team: Yao Yao, Jianxi Ou
- Engineering: Xiaolei Zhao
- Project Consultant: Mingfei Yang
- Collaborator: Beijing Four Seasons Yongjing Tourism Planning and Design Institute Co. Ltd
- City: Zhangjiakou
- Country: China
Text description provided by the architects. Driving from Beijing, all the way to southwest, passing through tunnels, you can see mountains on the left, such as a screen, plains on the right and a village at the foot of the mountain. The village is called Zhengjiazhuang, which is also the location of the project. As a typical northern village, Zhengjiazhuang is built by red brick, gray tile and broken clay. Villagers tend to chat under a big tree in the central square. As a boutique homestay, the project is located in the southeast corner of the village, and acts as the first shot of Zhengjiazhuang’s revitalization.
The relationship between the building and its surroundings is the first thing I consider. The relationship, especially between the building and the village or between the building and the mountains, reflects on the behavior about seeing and being seen. To the village, from a distance, the building should be seen and distinguished so as to attract visitors. To the mountains, the building should hide itself to fit in the village. To the building, the village and the mountains are objects been observed, which constitute scenes selected by the building.
As a B&B, the building consists of two parts: the upper part of accommodating and the lower part of dining and entertaining. The upper part consists of three rectangular volumes that have pitched roofs and big gable windows for viewing. The lower part, whose roof is a platform for outdoor activities, is shaped into a horizontal space surrounded by courtyards. I place the garage on the north part of the site which is 2 meters lower than the south. Part of the lower horizontal space of the building lifts 1.5 meters to sit on the top of the garage, while another part becomes a stair-like reading area heading downwards. This up-and-down dichotomy separates the loud area from the quiet, and fulfills their different height requirements. On plan, there are separation of people and vehicles (people enter from the south side, whereas vehicles enter from the northwest corner), separation of private and public (the guest area is on the left, while the internal area is on the right), as well as separation of people and goods (goods entrance is in the west side, away from guests).
The space of the first floor is defined by nine yards, which are ceremonial yard, ornamental yard, recreational yard, plantable yard, logistic yard, and yard for transportation. The size of the yards is different, which avoids alignment between each other. The interfaces of the garden are solid walls, transparent glass curtain walls and a hollow brick wall. Design attempts to blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor, so as to make the space more continuous. In addition, I enlarge some interfaces into veranda, which not only guides people to visit, but also allows the space to show itself slowly with the sequence. Although the land is limited, it makes people feel infinite.
Each rectangular volume of the upper part contains a public living room with several guest rooms surrounding. Moreover, the living room connecting the first floor and the attic becomes an important place for social activities. In order to make use of the pitched roof, I add attic to every guest room for stargazing. Guest room with attic is suitable for family trip and enlarges the guest capacity.
I try to convey the beauty of natural light. The light creates a serene atmosphere by rendering different spaces with cool and warm, showing material details with dark and bright, and being visual focus among overlapping spaces.
In order to reduce cost and make construction easier, the building adopts reinforced concrete frame structure. Besides, I use well-shaped beam in the dining room for long span, and control the size of beam grid and section to achieve a good effect. In the reading area, by contrasting vertical columns with horizontal stairs in visual, design can lead people’s sight to the upper floors. The corridor, which separates the main yard from the water yard, adopts a double-side self-balance overhang structure. The structure gives the corridor a posture that it is leaning to its both sides.
The building is made of red brick, concrete and wood. Red brick is the main material of the village, and concrete is matched with the silent feature of the mountains. In order to avoid cheap-looking, I try to expose the natural texture of these materials and show the trace of crafting and construction. The façade of the accommodating unit is made of board formed concrete. After many experiments, we can maintain the quality of this technic in low cost condition. Meanwhile, the brick walls are designed as sandwich structure with air cavity and insulation to meet the requirements of thermal performance and seismic resistance.
With the in-depth implementation of China's rural revitalization strategy, increasing numbers of vernacular buildings appear at the foot of the mountains, in the fields and in the villages. How architecture harmonizes with mountains and fields, coexists with the earth, and advances with the times is a long-term research topic. It is hoped that while pursuing the beauty of architecture, this project can contribute to the sustainable development of vernacular architecture in terms of the environmental harmony, cost control, and material use.